Los Angeles, CA – Thousands of food service workers, custodians, bus drivers, special education assistants, teacher assistants and other essential workers at the Los Angeles Unified School District will be voting January 23 – February 10 on authorizing a strike. A majority vote in favor of striking will allow SEIU Local 99’s bargaining team to call for a strike if an agreement with LAUSD cannot be reached through the impasse process.

Members of SEIU Local 99 have been negotiating with the district since April, 2021 demanding equitable wage increases, more full-time work, respectful treatment, and increased staffing levels. However, LAUSD has not shown significant movement. In December, SEIU Local 99 declared that negotiations had reached an impasse, prompting a state mediator to oversee negotiations.

“A strike is the last option. Workers are hopeful that a fair agreement can be reached through the mediation process,” said Max Arias, SEIU Local 99 Executive Director. “However, there are major issues in LAUSD’s compensation system that are leading to severe staffing shortages for essential student services.  Ultimately, without enough staff, students cannot have clean, safe and supportive schools.”  

The average salary of school workers at LAUSD is $25,000/year and most work fewer than 8 hours, making it difficult to retain and recruit sufficient staff to clean campuses, feed students, support classroom learning and perform other essential student services. This is leading to serious staffing shortages, including:

  • Insufficient teacher assistants, special education assistants and other instructional support to address learning loss and achievement gaps
  • Substandard cleaning and disinfecting at schools because of lack of custodial staff
  • Jeopardized campus safety due to overloaded campus aides and playground supervisors
  • Limited enrichment, after school and parent engagement programs due to reduced work hours and lack of health care benefits for after school workers and community representatives

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SEIU Local 99 represents nearly 30,000 custodians, food service workers, teacher assistants, special education assistants, bus drivers, playground supervisors, after-school workers and other essential workers at the Los Angeles Unified School District.